Written by Gabriel Dillard
Not many people do their best on an empty stomach. And when it comes to young students, proper nutrition goes hand-in-hand with educational success in Valley.
That’s why its encouraging to see an emerging local trend for Valley schools to partner with outside organizations to offer nutritious, locally grown foods.
This week Cultiva La Salud, formerly known as the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, is launching two new school farm stands in southeast Fresno — an area of Fresno commonly known as a “food desert” for the difficulties in accessing healthy food, especially without a car.
Lane Elementary School and Vang Pao Elementary School will be the site of two new farm stands available to students and the public. The Lane Elementary School Farm Stand will be open to the public every Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. while the Van Pago Elementary School Farm Stand is open every Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Both stands will be open through the end of the school year, and both will accept Electronic Benefits Transfer allowing residents to buy local produce using their CalFresh benefits.
Down south, Alila Elementary School in Earlimart is also going to host a monthly farmers market on campus. The school has teamed up with FoodLink of Tulare County, CHOICES After School Program and the University of California Cooperative Extension to make it happen.
The farmers market will be held on the first Monday of every month from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on campus at 850 W. Washington Ave. in Earlimart. It will be available to the public starting at 4:30 p.m.
Not only do these Valley programs help address a growing need related to food insecurity, they also instill in young people and the community alike the benefits of buying local products.
That’s a win-win for all involved.